Ruth means Compassion: A warrior’s tale
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08.06.2012 , 05:59 PM |
Line 2. Fellow Failures
July, 12 ATC – two weeks before the confirmation of the Wrath
There were seven Jedi in the room, plus a scattering of Republic guards. Everyone turned when Ruth entered. She signaled for Jaesa and Pierce to stay by the doorway while she walked a little ways in and permitted the Jedi to surround her.
“What is this?” asked one of the Jedi, his clothes and bearing suggesting leadership of some degree. “Sith, stop where you are. You’re badly outnumbered.”
She spoke to the room in general. “Darth Baras’s spy – identify yourself so you don’t die with these Jedi.”
“Are you suggesting that one of us is Sith?” said the Jedi leader.
“A pathetic trick,” said another Jedi. “She’s in over her head, and so she makes a desperate play to destabilize us.”
Ruth had intelligence that one of Baras’s deep cover agents was such a Jedi, and was leading this party into a trap. Anybody on Baras’s agent list was on Ruth’s hit list at the moment. She had to cut as much of his support as she could before striking at him. “Last chance, my fellow Sith. Speak now or die with your pretend brethren.”
“Hold. I must speak.” A middle-aged brunette stepped forward and bowed slightly to Ruth. “You’re becoming a legend among us, my friend. I am thankful you’ve given me a chance to save myself.”
The Jedi leader struggled for words. “Master Injaye…?”
Injaye smiled. She smiled with the same smug look Quinn sometimes had. “All these years, right under your nose. I was to lead you to your deaths today. Instead I’ll watch my new friend destroy you.”
“You really won’t, traitor. Did you think I was here to save you?” Ruth drew her saber; a murmur ran around the room, but the Jedi did not move to intercept. “You chose the wrong master. I’ll be sure to let him know you failed.”
Too late Inyaje went for her weapon. Ruth struck her down before she could raise a defense.
Ruth’s awareness burned bright with hatred while she stared at the fallen Sith. From off to one side, the Jedi leader spoke. “She was leading us into a suicide mission, then. We’d be walking to our deaths if not for you.”
“Spare me your gratitude,” she said. “It sickens me you couldn’t see her for what she was. Have you Jedi ever gotten anything right?”
“I think it would be best for us to part in peace. Now,” said the leader.
“We should arrest her,” said another. “Whether she saved us or not, she’s a Sith Lord, and no friend of ours.”
She was sick of this kind of jabbering. And she was sick of these “gentle” people who kept picking the wrong fights, then letting themselves get butchered through their own shortsighted weakness. When one Jedi raised his saber, she ignored the active discussion and charged.
“Master, no!” shouted Jaesa, starting forward.
Pierce barred her path with one arm. “Let her go,” he said quietly.
“But they aren’t – “
“She finally figured out we’re at war. And she needs to fight. Let her go.”
Ruth cut down her first opponent. It was so easy to hate these people. She stepped into the churning heat of the Dark Side and wondered why she had made herself stand out in the cold for so long.
“We should help her,” said Jaesa.
Pierce considered the circle of Jedi moving around Ruth. “Yeah, let’s clean up the edges. After that I’ll go out, watch the perimeter. You let her do what she needs.”
Ruth killed. No finesse, no precision, no mercy. None of that was necessary. They were fools, all of them, blind fools, and sorry inferior fighters, and Ruth hated them for it. They had let themselves be fooled. She hated herself for it. And so she killed them.
Then there was only her and Jaesa.
They faced each other across a short space strewn with fallen Jedi and soldiers. The horror on the young woman’s face brought Ruth up short. “The spy is dead,” said Ruth, out of a sudden desire to justify herself.
Jaesa didn’t say anything.
Ruth looked around at the dead once more. She knew she had hated them, passionately, less than a minute ago. She knew they had been lied to. She knew they had tried their best for what they believed in, and they had all lost because something bigger and more cruel just felt like denying them today.
She turned away so they wouldn’t see her crying.
She heard the hum of a deactivating saber, and then Jaesa was beside her. They knelt together. Ruth expected Jaesa to attack, for vengeance or punishment or something, but she didn’t. She just held Ruth wordlessly for a long time.
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